Higher Education Middleware Security Group Formed
WASHINGTON A coalition of higher education associations and state university systems have formed a partnership to discover how middleware software tools might help college and universities strengthen identity and access management. Announced in late June, the partnership, entitled Extending the Reach (ETR), includes the EDUCAUSE, the Internet2 consortium, the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), and several statewide university systems and regional networks.ETR, which will be managed by EDUCAUSE, a major association of higher education IT personnel, will push “support models for identity and access management services and will develop effective practices for regional and state-based middleware infrastructure coordination,” organization officials stated in an announcement. The effort will also use existing technology and practices developed through the National Science Foundation’s Middleware Initiative (NMI). Core middleware services include electronic identification, authentication and authorization, all involved in identity and access management. Examples of middleware services include electronic identification, authentication and authorization. In the current Internet environment, individual applications usually provide these services themselves. However, by promoting standardization and interoperability, middleware will make advanced, interorganizational network applications in the higher education environment much easier to deploy, use and manage. “The operative word is scaling. Just like the original Internet backbone, middleware-enabled applications will have similar performance and interoperability issues at the state, regional, national and international levels. The ETR program is the first step toward a broad support infrastructure for identity and access management that is so critical to maintaining computer and network security,” says Dr. Mark Luker, EDUCAUSE vice president.
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